caeruleancentaur writes:
> --- ... Steven Williams wrote:
> >The same thing goes on in Mandarin and Japanese, where the order is
> >name + title (Li-laoshi, Tanaka-san, and so on). Both of these
> >languages are postpositional; is there a universal for titles to
> >come after names in these sorts of languages?

Mandarin also has a lot of prepositions:

  gei3  - to, for    also the verb 'to give'
  gen1  - with       also the verb 'to go with, to follow'
  zai4  - at, on     also the locative/temporal verb 'to be'
  dao4  - towards    also the verb 'to arrive'
  cong2 - from       also the verb 'to follow'

  Qing3  gen1 wo3 lai2.
  please with me  come.
  'Please come with me.'

  Ta1   zai4 Tai2wan1 gong1zuo4.
  (s)he in   Taiwan   work.
  '(S)he works in Taiwan.'

  Zai4 da4xue2    wo3men dou1 xue2xi2 Zhong1wen2.
  at   university we     all  learn   Chinese.

Do you mean the 'postpositions' in:

  Shu1 zai4  zhuo1zi shang4.
  book table   on/above
  'The book is on the table.'


I thought these were analysed to be locative nouns, i.e. lit. 'The
book is at the above of the table.'  The preposition (or
locative/directional verb) is still needed here.  AFAIK, Japanese also
uses such locative nouns but then suffixes a postposition.

However, for time, there are indeed constructions that look like
postpositions to me:

  Chi1 fan4 de shi2hou4 wo3 kan4  shu1.
  eat  food 's moment   I   watch book
  'When I was eating, I read a book.'

'de shi2hou4' could be said to be a postposition.  Cedict lists it as

There are more:

   yi3qian2 - before
   yi3hou4  - after

   Xia4     ke4   yi3hou4 wo3 qu4 kan4  dian4ying3.
   end/down class after   I   go  watch film.
   'After the end of the class I watch a movie.'

What postpositions did you think of in Mandarin?  It does not feel
clearly postpositional to me, but rather quite prepositional.  But
it's not at all clear.

I think there's also a prepositional 'when' using the same 'shi2'
(time) as a noun just like the 'shang4' above plus the preposition

  ?Zai4 chi1 fan4 shi2 wo3 kan4 shu1.

Someone might want to check this, however, I'm not completely sure.

Anyway, the prominent word is also SVO in Mandarin and is SOV in
Japanese.  The syntax is very different in Mandarin and Japanese, so
I'd say it's hard to find a common property by which to formulate a
universal for both of them about the name + title order.

Nevertheless, I also do think there is a universal stating that SOV
langs have name + title order, and Mandarin just also has name +

> Before my hard drive crashed last June, I had a site that described
> language universals.  I have not needed it since then, so haven't
> bothered to relocate it.  There must be someone on the list who can
> give us the URL.

Searching my bookmarks, I found the following:

Short list:

Large data base: